Choosing a Timeout Location

Remember that for the timeout penalty to be effective, it must be unpleasant for your child. Also, timeout does not work well after you have lost your temper and/or yelled at the child. You need to be calm, cool , and collected yourself when administering a timeout.

Also keep in mind that you are not trying to frighten your child into submission. You are trying to:

  • Put an immediate halt to an inappropriate behavior.
  • Take away something (freedom and attention) that your child wants.

Choose your timeout location in advance of the time you need it. When a child is misbehaving, you want to be able to stop the behavior immediately, not make a decision about where to send the child.

Choose your timeout location in advance of the time you needit.

Your Home

  1. Choose a location where you can send your child every time you must invoke timeout.
  2. Choose a boring spot away from all action and any attention from other family members.
  3. Choose a location that can be reached quickly.

Try not to use the following places:

Basements or dark closets: These places are too scary to be used for timeout.
Kitchens or bathrooms: Too many potentially dangerous objects in these areas, such as knives, poisons, hot water, etc.

The child’s bedroom

It’s never a good idea to reinforce the idea that there is something bad about the bedroom. You also don’t want to associate punishment with a place your child sleeps. Besides, there are usually too many fun things to do in his or her bedroom for the choice to be a punishment.

Home of Others

When visiting others, use a porch, a hallway, or the back yard.

Public Places

A restroom or even your car will work in a public place.

Don’t leave your child alone in a public place. Although you’ll still ignore him and withhold your attention, keep him well in sight.


If your child suffers from separation anxiety when you leave her, use a time-out spot that is not isolated from you.

Again, you are not trying to scare your child, only provide him/her with a place to get unacceptable behavior under control.

Jan Wilson

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